How to Narrow Down Your Guest List in 10 Minutes

Need to make cuts to your guest list? We’ve got a few ideas to help it go quickly.

By Nilina Mason-Campbell

How to Narrow Down Your Guest List in 10 Minutes
Photo by Zola

There can be many reasons why you need to trim down your intended wedding day attendees. Perhaps, it’s gotten too bloated, or you’re aiming for a smaller wedding affair than you’d initially planned. And there’s no reason why making any cuts needs to turn into a headache and be a long, drawn-out process.

Instead you can absolutely narrow down your guest list in the space of just a few songs. We break down a few prompts to help you out. Strike through whomever these may apply to, which will bring it down. Even if they don’t all end up being permanent cuts, it’ll help you whittle it down in a snap and give you a better idea of what a smaller list will look like.


While we may spend significant time with our co-workers, are they on your guest list because they’re integral to your special day or mostly out of obligation? If it’s the latter, they can absolutely go. Another angle is whether there’s crossover between you and your fiance. If it’s a one-sided relationship, rather than a mutual connection between you both, that may serve as another indicator that the guest in question doesn't need to remain on the list.

Distant Relatives

Of course our nearest and dearest are expected to attend, but does a relative that you haven’t seen since early childhood absolutely need to be present on your big day? Do any distant relatives cause disagreements with others at your wedding? If so, maybe they don’t really need to be there.

High School Friends

Maybe you had a friend that you’d pour over wedding magazines with in high school, imagining what your future ceremony would look like. While that’s a nice sentimental memory, if you haven’t seen much of them since graduating, maybe they don’t need to come in person. You can reminisce via social media, instead.

Plus Ones

You might not even know who your guests are bringing to your wedding, so is it essential that they come? While, in theory, extending invites to friends and significant others of your guests is a nice idea, it can definitely grow your list, so keep it intimate by extending invites only to those you know by name and eliminating the option of bringing plus ones.


Making your wedding into an adults-only affair will definitely influence the vibe and perhaps eliminate several customary guests that you’d been expecting.

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